Biden says he’s not surprised Trump contracted the coronavirus

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WASHINGTON — Joe Biden said Monday that he wasn’t surprised that President Donald Trump contracted Covid-19 because the president hasn’t followed health experts’ guidelines to wear a mask and social distance.

“Quite frankly, I wasn’t surprised,” the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee said during an NBC News town hall with host Lester Holt in Miami.

The former vice president questioned Trump’s behavior given all of the data showing the guidelines are effective in reducing the spread of Covid-19.

“The idea that Covid does not spread in proximity when you don’t have a mask on, when you’re not socially distancing, when there’s large groups of people, when you’re inside particularly but even when you’re outside, that’s not surprising,” Biden said.

Asked if Trump bears some responsibility for contracting the disease caused by the coronavirus, Biden said, “Anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying masks don’t matter, social distancing doesn’t matter, I think is responsible for what happens to them.”

The primetime event at the Pérez Art Museum lasted for an hour and featured questions from mostly undecided voters. Florida is a key battleground state in this year’s election, a state that Trump carried in 2016.

Biden also criticized Trump for the tweet he posted before being discharged from Walter Reed on Monday in which he told Americans “don’t be afraid of Covid.”

“The only thing I heard was one of the tweets saying that, you know, don’t be so concerned about all this, essentially. There’s a lot to be concerned about. Two hundred and ten million — 210,000 people have died. You have, you know, about 1,000 people a day getting the coronavirus. Fifty thousand, I mean — so it’s a great concern,” he said.

“I hope no one walks away with the message thinking that it is not a problem.”

Image: Rebecca ShabadRebecca Shabad

Rebecca Shabad is a congressional reporter for NBC News, based in Washington.

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